Long before Ozzy Osbourne became reality TV's foulmouthed Prince of Bleeping Darkness, he was the godfather of heavy metal. He earned that title fronting Black Sabbath in 1970, with the hits "Iron Man" and "Paranoid," and by later reinventing himself as a solo artist supported by full-throttle guitarists such as Randy Rhoads and Jake E. Lee on "Crazy Train" and "Bark at the Moon," respectively.
In 2009, Osbourne shifted gears again and hired young-gun guitar player Gus G. to replace Zakk Wylde, who had co-written Ozzy hits such as "Mama, I'm Coming Home" and Grammy-winning "I Don't Want to Change the World." With a shredding pedigree with the very un-Ozzy-sounding Grecian power-metal crew Firewind, Gus seemed like a wild card.
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But that was only until Osbourne's 11th studio album, Scream, debuted at number four on the Billboard chart last year — coincidentally the 40th anniversary of Black Sabbath's self-titled debut. Containing Sabbath-heavy riffs, expertly played by Gus, and some of Osbourne's edgiest lyrics and best vocal performances in years — especially on single "Let It Die" and "Diggin' Me Down" — it was an unexpected triumph. Catch Ozzy with another excellent axman, Slash, of Guns N' Roses and Velvet Revolver fame, opening up.